Apple and Ericsson settle global patent disputes, sign new deal

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2022
The wide-ranging lawsuits and counter lawsuits between Ericsson and Apple over iPhone 5G and other patents, has been ended with a new "multi-year" deal.




In what appears to be a repeat of the firms' previous patent dispute in 2015, Apple and Ericcson mounted multiple international legal cases against one another -- and then settled.

"We are pleased to settle the litigations with Apple with this agreement," Christina Petersson, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson, said in a statement, "which is of strategic importance to our 5G licensing program."

"This will allow both companies to continue to focus on bringing the best technology to the global market," she continued.

The dispute concerned 5G patents that Ericsson believes Apple infringed with the iPhone and other devices. Apple in its turn has sued Ericsson over what it describes as "standards-essential patents."

The deal is described only as being a "multi-year" one, with no specific duration. As part of the arrangement, Ericsson and Apple have agreed to "strengthen their technology and business collaboration," including in standards development.

It settles all of the global legal cases -- numbering at least half a dozen -- which included a brief ban on sales of the iPhone 14 in Colombia.

Apple and Ericsson went through a similar series of international lawsuits before signing a six-year deal in 2015.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Not all corporations can get such exclusive deals, making the products more expensive. FRAND should be applied here. Where are the regulators on this? Stifling innovation 
    darelrexdanoxFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Apple in its turn has sued Ericsson over what it describes as "standards-essential patents."
    All patents contained in the 5G phone standard (or 4G before it, etc.) are standards-essential. Nobody is supposed to need permission to use them. Nobody is supposed to need to sign licensing agreements to use them. Nobody is supposed to be able to get product-sale injunctions against people who use them, even while wrangling over money in court.

    The only valid dispute is how much do they have to pay. And that's supposed to be the exact same (per-device) amount that everyone else is paying for those same patent(s). If no such amount exists (because the patent holder isn't following the rules of the FRAND agreement), then the amount owed should be zero.

    It's stunning that phone communication standards — without which you can't make a working phone at all, and your whole company could collapse if your most successful product is suddenly unavailable for purchase — can be used in court to try to extort any amount from any phone maker. Hopefully, Apple got a good deal in this settlement, based on the strength of its case against Ericsson and the actual content of the FRAND agreement Ericsson long-ago signed.
    Anilu_777danoxFileMakerFellerwatto_cobrakillroy
  • Reply 3 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,588member
    Why can’t everyone just get along?
    Both companies knew this was coming when the previous agreement was signed, yet they didn’t work proactively, they waited until the old deal expired and then went to court.
    Both companies knew this was the agreement they would end up with, yet they tried to get injunctions, and posture, and insulted each other in the press. 
    Both companies knew they would settle, yet they insisted on posturing, and strutting, like testosterone addled teenagers.
    Why can’t they stop wasting time and money, and act like adults.
    Why can’t they just get along.
    tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,520member
    darelrex said:
    Apple in its turn has sued Ericsson over what it describes as "standards-essential patents."
    All patents contained in the 5G phone standard (or 4G before it, etc.) are standards-essential. Nobody is supposed to need permission to use them. Nobody is supposed to need to sign licensing agreements to use them. Nobody is supposed to be able to get product-sale injunctions against people who use them, even while wrangling over money in court.

    The only valid dispute is how much do they have to pay. And that's supposed to be the exact same (per-device) amount that everyone else is paying for those same patent(s). If no such amount exists (because the patent holder isn't following the rules of the FRAND agreement), then the amount owed should be zero.
    Very little of that is factual beyond the first sentence.  There's not even a market-wide agreement on what FRAND actually means, much less what "fair" licensing requires.
    FWIW, most of the basic royalty rate structure is agreed upon within a standards group (ie, ETSI), but there can be more than one group of licensees and standards bodies involved, plus different courtrooms and varying laws in different jurisdictions putting in their 2 cents. They may not agree with each other on those FRAND rates and terms.  Just look at the video standards groups involved in MPEG licensing. Some want much more money for their groups IP than others even if they are all part of the supposed standard. An SEP license taken with one may still run afoul of another group who claims they have SEP's too.  It's a very muddy standards-essential landscape.

    Essentially there's no such thing as a universally accepted legal definition of FRAND or the requisite royalty-rate for licensing, nor any legal obligation that all licensees be treated exactly the same and offered the same rate. All of the patents in a standard (with rare exception) are voluntarily contributed by the IP owners with the understanding they will receive on-going compensation that makes it profitable to do so. In the case of a company like Qualcomm or Ericsson it may be substantial.

    A FRAND agreement does not include "free" unless the owners of that IP agree to make it so. 
    avon b7FileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 9
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,563member
    Not all corporations can get such exclusive deals, making the products more expensive. FRAND should be applied here. Where are the regulators on this? Stifling innovation 
    They are missing in action, because the lobbyist’s haven’t given them their marching orders. (In short told them how to think)
  • Reply 6 of 9
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,563member
    gatorguy said:
    darelrex said:
    Apple in its turn has sued Ericsson over what it describes as "standards-essential patents."
    All patents contained in the 5G phone standard (or 4G before it, etc.) are standards-essential. Nobody is supposed to need permission to use them. Nobody is supposed to need to sign licensing agreements to use them. Nobody is supposed to be able to get product-sale injunctions against people who use them, even while wrangling over money in court.

    The only valid dispute is how much do they have to pay. And that's supposed to be the exact same (per-device) amount that everyone else is paying for those same patent(s). If no such amount exists (because the patent holder isn't following the rules of the FRAND agreement), then the amount owed should be zero.
    Very little of that is factual beyond the first sentence.  There's not even a market-wide agreement on what FRAND actually means, much less what "fair" licensing requires.
    FWIW, most of the basic royalty rate structure is agreed upon within a standards group (ie, ETSI), but there can be more than one group of licensees and standards bodies involved, plus different courtrooms and varying laws in different jurisdictions putting in their 2 cents. They may not agree with each other on those FRAND rates and terms.  Just look at the video standards groups involved in MPEG licensing. Some want much more money for their groups IP than others even if they are all part of the supposed standard. An SEP license taken with one may still run afoul of another group who claims they have SEP's too.  It's a very muddy standards-essential landscape.

    Essentially there's no such thing as a universally accepted legal definition of FRAND or the requisite royalty-rate for licensing, nor any legal obligation that all licensees be treated exactly the same and offered the same rate. All of the patents in a standard (with rare exception) are voluntarily contributed by the IP owners with the understanding they will receive on-going compensation that makes it profitable to do so. In the case of a company like Qualcomm or Ericsson it may be substantial.

    A FRAND agreement does not include "free" unless the owners of that IP agree to make it so. 

    FRAND in telecomm has been a farce from the very beginning. It certainly has been inflexible towards innovation by new companies, most of original patent holders, losers in the marketplace were/are satisfied with remaining in the past as toll keepers collecting fees for simply being first.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 9
    DAalseth said:
    Why can’t everyone just get along?
    Both companies knew this was coming when the previous agreement was signed, yet they didn’t work proactively, they waited until the old deal expired and then went to court.
    Both companies knew this was the agreement they would end up with, yet they tried to get injunctions, and posture, and insulted each other in the press. 
    Both companies knew they would settle, yet they insisted on posturing, and strutting, like testosterone addled teenagers.
    Why can’t they stop wasting time and money, and act like adults.
    Why can’t they just get along.
    I'm not sure you can say that they didn't work proactively.

    In my mind, the most likely scenario is that Apple wanted something badly enough to stall the negotiations over but Ericsson was unwilling to give any ground. They went to court, the court made clear what the ultimate outcome would be and ultimately Apple gave more ground.

    I fully expect a repeat of the process once the current agreement expires, because Apple tends to be very pig-headed about what they think is right and they are big enough to get their way most of the time.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,588member
    DAalseth said:
    Why can’t everyone just get along?
    Both companies knew this was coming when the previous agreement was signed, yet they didn’t work proactively, they waited until the old deal expired and then went to court.
    Both companies knew this was the agreement they would end up with, yet they tried to get injunctions, and posture, and insulted each other in the press. 
    Both companies knew they would settle, yet they insisted on posturing, and strutting, like testosterone addled teenagers.
    Why can’t they stop wasting time and money, and act like adults.
    Why can’t they just get along.
    I'm not sure you can say that they didn't work proactively.

    In my mind, the most likely scenario is that Apple wanted something badly enough to stall the negotiations over but Ericsson was unwilling to give any ground. They went to court, the court made clear what the ultimate outcome would be and ultimately Apple gave more ground.

    I fully expect a repeat of the process once the current agreement expires, because Apple tends to be very pig-headed about what they think is right and they are big enough to get their way most of the time.
    Or equally likely Ericsson thought Apple couldn’t survive without their tech and demanded a silly price. In the end both sides had to climb down from their posturing and reach the agreement they could have had a year or more before. 
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingamkillroy
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Not all corporations can get such exclusive deals, making the products more expensive. FRAND should be applied here. Where are the regulators on this? Stifling innovation 

    They have been in a coma for a long time.
Sign In or Register to comment.